viernes, agosto 10, 2007

El atractivo camino del website

Según los últimos datos de The State of the News Media los website de los principales diarios estadounidenses se han convertido en la mejor noticia para este depresivo sector. Sus ganancias están creciendo del orden de un 22% anual y, mejor aún, se calcula que los visitantes permanece en promedio 30 minutos en el sitio. Hace un par de años, los dos diarios online más visitados en español ( y registraban un promedio de 14 minutos en sus respectivas plataformas. El fin del minimalismo, la entrega de videos, acceso a comunidades, blogs, contenidos propios y de generación común, buscadores especializados, clasificados "inteligentes" y una importante interactividad con las audiencias, ha llevado incluso a los medios más conservadores a revitalizar sus páginas. El sitio de CNN y de la revista Time son claros ejemplos de la nueva fisonomía de los websites, cada vez más atractivas para las agencias de publicidad. Ya es más que obvio que el solo objetivo de actualizar noticias no es el camino.

Por Barb Palser
To new-media trailblazers, newspaper tribulations sometimes seem adorably quaint. Consider the controversy over front-page newspaper ads reported by Donna Shaw in AJR's last issue ( "A Fading Taboo," June/July). "Page-one ads may net premium prices," Shaw writes, "but they're distasteful to many journalists who believe they violate the purity of page one and the sacred wall between news and business. From a design standpoint, they can detract from the flow and order of a page."

Front-page purity? Online news sites waived that notion a long time ago. Design flow and order? It's a nice ideal, seldom achieved on the Web. Standards of taste, meanwhile, are flexible. If you have doubts about that, just picture the gyrating silhouettes on those ubiquitous ads for Or the mélange of "rich media" ads that push down, pop up and take over entire pages.

In her piece, Shaw listed the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and Minneapolis' Star Tribune among papers that didn't allow ads on their front pages. (The L.A. Times is now planning to do so.) But look at their Web sites. At the moment, there are 13 ads on the home page of , 13 on and a relatively conservative four on . loads against a full-page background of bright red wallpaper advertising an auto dealer. The page itself offers nine ads.

Apparently the practice of labeling Web ads has gone by the wayside, along with any limits on the number that can appear on a page. As of this writing, is the only site of the four above that labels all of its home-page ads. labels most ads; and haven't bothered at all. While most Web users will recognize a standard-sized banner or square display ad, these sites offer several unlabeled ads that are not so obvious.
Why is there such a glaring double standard between print and online editions when it comes to advertising? As Shaw explains, newspapers have a decades-long legacy of rejecting page-one ads in order to demonstrate their objectivity. Things played out differently on the Web, in an era when the separation of editorial and sales was more firmly established and the Internet was expected to topple traditional rules. News sites initially shunned home-page banner ads, but that didn't last long. Then the pressure grew to make Web sites


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